I like it that I have to deal with every item in Google Reader. I think it is a good way to do a river of news, especially if it is sorted oldest to newest. Dealing with these items is really simple.
Google Reader sorts my items from oldest to newest and I view every item in turn. To go to the next item I press 'J'. This way I can skim every item. If I find something that I want to read (especially if it's longer) I open it in a new tab.